All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

3

Billy Jenkins With The Voice of God Collective: Scratches Of Spain

Roger Farbey By

Sign in to view read count
To mark the thirtieth anniversary of its original release on vinyl (it was later released on CD) this download-only version is a welcome reissue from the canon of Billy Jenkins recordings. It's a shame that it's only available as a download since it certainly merits a physical reissue. But a digital presence is certainly better than none for this long out of print album. Jenkins is not performing live these days but perhaps he will be persuaded to make a comeback because his gigs were always unfailingly brilliant. However, Jenkins has not been idle in the recent past, having released two excellent digital-only solo guitar albums, 2014's The Semi-Detached Suburban Home (Music For Low Strung Guitar) and 2015's Death, Ritual & Resonation: Eight Improvised Studies On Low Strung Guitar.

Scratches Of Spain kicks off with typically robust vocals from former Loose Tubes trombonist Ashley Slater on the funky "Monkey Men." The eighteen piece ensemble is largely populated by ex-Tubers too including the irrepressible Django Bates.

An appropriately disturbing sax-led vamp presides over "Cuttlefish," infused with a plethora of percussion, it begins to resemble a kookier version of tracks from On The Corner but with some jokey organ quotes such as "I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside."

However, the subtle military marching snare and wistful clarinet of "Barcelona" indicate that the album is indeed something of a paean to Miles Davis's album, albeit with a hilarious Shadows guitar interjection. But this is, as Jenkins constantly reminds the listener, Spaz (Spaß or Spass), which translates as joke music, played with a least as much panache as that other "comedy" band, The Mothers Of Invention. Compare and contrast Jenkins's ensemble with the Mothers on "Benidorm Motorway Services."

The infectious percussion-rich dance music of "Bilbao/St Columbus Day" juxtaposes dramatically with the lugubriosity of "Cooking Oil," the cello and vibes entwined in a mesmerizingly morose duet. The clownish mood rapidly returns with the final, jaunty "McDonalds" imparting a Dixieland jazz band feel to the proceedings.

All joking aside, any Billy Jenkins releases or reissues should be considered a serious event and this album is no exception, festooned throughout with prodigious talent and idiosyncratically delightful tunes.

Track Listing: Monkey Men; Cuttlefish; Barcelona; Benidorm Motorway Service; Bilbao/St. Columbus Day; Cooking Oil; McDonalds.

Personnel: Billy Jenkins: electric guitar, violin; Dave Cook: electric guitar; Django Bates: keyboard; Skid Solo, Chris Batchelor, John Eacott: trumpet; Iain Ballamy, Steve Buckley: saxophones; Dai Pritchard: saxophone, clarinet; Jimmy Haycraft: vibraphone; Ashley Slater: vocals, trombone, tuba; Dave Jago: trombone; Tim Matthewman, Simon Edwards: electric bass; Jo Westcott: cello; Steve Argüelles: drums; Roy Dodds, Dawson: drums, percussion.

Title: Scratches Of Spain | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: VOTP

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To CD/LP/Track Review
You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 24, 2018
Read We Out Here CD/LP/Track Review
We Out Here
by Chris May
Published: February 24, 2018
Read Best of the Bootlegs 2017 CD/LP/Track Review
Best of the Bootlegs 2017
by Doug Collette
Published: February 24, 2018
Read The Asylum Years CD/LP/Track Review
The Asylum Years
by Doug Collette
Published: February 24, 2018
Read Solo Contra CD/LP/Track Review
Solo Contra
by Daniel Barbiero
Published: February 24, 2018
Read Ellipse CD/LP/Track Review
Ellipse
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 23, 2018
Read "Body and Shadow" CD/LP/Track Review Body and Shadow
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 26, 2017
Read "Earthshine" CD/LP/Track Review Earthshine
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: January 31, 2018
Read "Six Easy Pieces" CD/LP/Track Review Six Easy Pieces
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 5, 2017
Read "Far from Over" CD/LP/Track Review Far from Over
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 8, 2017
Read "Tasty Tunes" CD/LP/Track Review Tasty Tunes
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 11, 2018
Read "Minor Step" CD/LP/Track Review Minor Step
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 19, 2017